Offline, no one follows you around the library tracking what you browse; the bookstore doesn’t know what you do with a book after you buy it, and if you buy it with cash, they may not even know who you are. You can hide books under your bed from others in your home and give them away anonymously. Courts impose high standards on law enforcement and others seeking access to reading records and librarians have long protected patron privacy as a matter of basic librarian ethics.
But today, we have Google and other companies offering books online. Unlike the privacy you normally experience online, Google’s current practices show it is capable of compiling “dossiers” that reveal our lives in intimate detail. These dossiers may be shared across Google products or with partners, civil litigants, and law enforcement without clear standards for review. Other online bookstores raise similar concerns, but Google is the company seeking federal court approval of what may well become the world’s largest digital book repository — so it must lead the way in protecting online reader privacy and anonymity.
update: qui la risposta odierna di Google.